It doesn’t feel right to say that I’ve been traveling a lot, cause then people automatically think that I’ve been to and seen so many different places. For the last three years, I’ve spent, in total, one year living in Thailand, and most of the time in a small town up north called Pai. I found this gem of a place when I was doing the typical post high school three months backpacking trip around south east Asia, but I quickly realised that it wasn’t my style to jump from place to place just to cross of my “bucket list”. It’s hard to explain why I love this place so much, simply because there are no words that can possibly draw the beauty of this place for other people to see without actually going there. But theres no guarantee that you would have the same impression, cause it all depends on your personal approach to the place and the locals, and the people and experiences you meet on your way. I was lucky to meet the people who are now some of my best friends on my first day there, and since then it’s just become more and more like my second home, my safe space and the place for my creative outlet.
"I found this gem of a place when I was doing the typical post high school three months backpacking trip around south east Asia, but I quickly realised that it wasn’t my style to jump from place to place just to cross of my bucket list"
"I discovered the new me in an environment that felt very familiar to me"
Pai is a very laid-back small town with a slow pace mindset, which suits me perfectly. In the beginning it’s all about riding around town on a rented half broken semiautomatic motorbike to see hot springs, waterfalls, viewpoints and finding the best vegan food and coffee in town, then spending hours laying in hammocks reading about stuff you would feel as a waste of time reading about back in “society”. Now this is amazing to do, but only for so long. This is when I was kind of forced to find something more progressive to spend my time on, and then I got to dig deeper into my oldest passion which is photography. I started learning colour printing in my friends darkroom every morning at 8 am, and did this for about three months. At the same time I was healing my body from a long lasting negative relationship with food and the way I looked at my body, or an eating disorder if you like. I spent a lot of time doing research and experimenting around cooking plant based food and also combining it with photography and started making recipes to put on my website. After focusing my time a lot around photography, food, and just taking care of my body, I started to feel like I was missing out on something. I felt somehow that I was being too strict about being healthy, sleeping enough, not taking any stimulants like coffee or alcohol and stuff like that. So I started going out more in the evenings, I went to house- and techno parties in the jungle, I went to music, art and culture festivals, and I discovered the new me in an environment that felt very familiar to me. I started doing lights at friends parties, and I also started DJ-ing a little bit just for my closest friends, which opened up a whole new chapter for me.
I love looking back at the time I’ve spent abroad, kind of not having one place to live or one thing to do. It’s definitely a very difficult lifestyle, but then again so rewarding when you detach yourself from the security of always having an income, a “home” and a family or group of friends around you at any time, and to see and get to know yourself without all of this. It has kindly forced me to learn how and where I function the best way, and also what really matters to me. I’m not sure if I can explain that in just a few words right now, but in the end we all just want to be happy, right?
All photos courtesy of Hilde Solli.